Currently, KIPP is the largest nonprofit charter network, with 109 schools in a franchise arrangement.
“We feel a heightened sense of urgency . . .,” Feinberg said. “But if we aggressively try to address all of it tomorrow, we’re going to fail. We have to have a maturity of patience.”
As Rocketship expands into new cities, if results fall short, the aura that surrounds it could quickly reverse, said Ford, the consultant.
Already, Rocketship has experienced some growth pains. Standardized test scores for its oldest schools dipped slightly last year and the chain has been slowing its expansion schedule in California because it has had trouble finding enough principals.
Danner is aware of the high stakes and pitfalls ahead. He worries about the downside of fast growth, that Rocketship will lose control of quality and morph into a bloated organization.